We're taken Boo Boo out in her wheelchair a few times now, to the shops and to the park.
Mostly, people stare in wonderment at such a small child driving a mechanical device. I admit, she's tiny. And she's totally in control. it is awe-inspiring.
Quite a few people think she's cute, especially if she drives over to people's tables in a cafe to check out the food they have on their tables. She will smile one of her big grins at them , pointing and saying "yummy". A bit like a big eyed puppy dog that comes begging to your table.
Other kids are fascinated and find it hard to keep their fingers off the wheelchair. The joystick especially is very hard to resist for many kids. I don't mind too much if other kids touch it - Boo Boo is quite happy for them to have a feel. I think she enjoys being the centre of attention. If they fiddle with it too long, she sweeps their hands away and says loudly "bye bye". She' s perfectly capable of telling other kids when it's enough. Most of the parents, though, are mortified their kids touch the wheelchair. Probably fear it's contagious.
Mind you, if any adult dared touch her wheelchair controls like someone did with Moo over at Terrible Palsy, I will probably lynch them!
And of course, the stupid comments have started.
A favorite seems to be "what's wrong with her?". This one generally comes with some good old fashioned staring first before they pluck up the courage to come over and comment. My standard answer so far to this questions is "Nothing". This confuses people no end. Then they go "oh, but i mean, why does she need a wheelchair?" On my braver days, I simply answer "for the same reasons people need glasses". What is it with people, why do they feel the need to know our entire medical history. I'm not asking after their hemorrhoids, so why do they need to know a diagnosis?
Or how about this conversation:
- Hmm. Nice.
polite smile from me.
- How much does it cost?
- Seventeen thousand dollars.
- Whoa. That's expensive. Where did you buy it?
- Northcott Disability Services.
- Yes. It's not a toy
- Oh. Not a toy. Oh. It's very expensive.
One of the best responses so far was from a pimply youth who works at a games shop in a nearby shopping centre. He watched Boo Boo flawlessly manoeuvre in a tight spot, her hand loosely on her joystick. Then he turned to me in awe and said "Man, she's going to be deadly with the games when she grows up". Yeah! I think she will.